Sacred Heart Exclusion of Child
A letter from Jean Hodges, PFLAG Boulder County President, to the Boulder Camera
Barring a child of same-gender parents from the Sacred Heart Preschool illustrates most vividly the divide caused by church doctrine over the compassionate caring that Jesus modeled. Many church denominations have played the largest role influencing attitudes that demonize homosexuality and foster homophobia. The Roman Catholic Church, in particular, is about authority, tradition, and precedent. Many times that serves the church well, but some times — as in this case — the distinction is clear and painful. Condemnation has led to discrimination. We believe that the church should be part of the solution to support loving families, in all their diversity, rather than cause pain and dissension.
The work of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Gays and Lesbians) since its inception in l972 as a national, volunteer driven, grassroots organization has worked to change minds and hearts to be more accepting of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender loved ones. We mourn for the innocent children of happy and committed gay couples who are often victims of prejudice against their families. Churches are intended to strenthen family ties, not divide family loyalties. Teaching anti-gay doctrine often causes parents to turn against their LGBT children. There is evidence that nearly one out of three homeless youth identify as gay or lesbian or transgender.
School settings are the place where children learn acceptance and empathy for those who are different. The Boulder Valley Safe Schools Coalition, a community advisory group to the superintendent started by a PFLAG initiative in l998, has worked closely with BVSD administration to help our public schools create a culture of respect and acceptance. Recently Longmont has joined this effort by forming a St. Vrain Safe Schools Coalition to make their schools a safe place for all children. We know of many same-gender parents who have found supportive belonging for their children in the public schools. We would like to support private schools such as Sacred Heart in their efforts to foster compassion rather than judgment. We plan to honor the staff persons (in absentia if necessary) who brought attention to the policy of exclusion as “Unsung Heroes” for GLBT equality at our May 11th Appreciation Banquet. We hope someone will contact us to receive that award.
PFLAG stands by to offer support for the victims of discrimination and those who want to change school policy. Social change happens when people become aware of the need to adjust traditional beliefs to fit new realities. PFLAG is here to offer education for greater understanding about LGBT issues to any faith community. And always, PFLAG will advocate for respect and inclusion, and tolerance at the very least, if not agreement.